The Griffin Board of Commissioners on Tuesday unanimously approved a first reading of the change in city ordinances which upon second reading restricts defined weapons from certain government buildings. Griffin Police Chief Frank Strickland told the commissioners the change “is aimed at this room when you’re in session.”
When asked about the rest of the building, Strickland said, “I imagine if it was a legal permit holder not in knowledge of the ordinance we would be lenient.”
Strickland said a new provision in state law authorizes municipal governments, by ordinance, to restrict the carrying of handguns, long guns and knives in municipal courthouses and government buildings. He said that when the room is used for Municipal Court, “We run everyone through a metal detector.”
The change would have no impact on the Spalding County Courthouse, any of the county’s government buildings or any state or federal facilities within the city. The legislation includes definitions for the weapons, including the length of prohibited knife blades (5 inches or longer).
A handgun is defined as a firearm of any description, loaded or unloaded, from which any shot, bullet or other missile can be discharged by action of an explosive where the length of the barrel does not exceed 12 inches. This length does not include any revolving or detachable magazine or breech nor does it include a gun which fires a single shot of .46 centimeters or less in diameter.
Long gun refers to a firearm with a barrel of at least 18 inches and overall length of at least 26 inches, made or designed to be fired from the shoulder and that fires shotgun shells or metallic cartridges in a single pull of the trigger. Long gun shall not include a gun which fires a single shot of .46 centimeters or less in diameter.
The ordinance exempts city personnel acting in their job capacity, certified law enforcement officers and court personnel, but restricts all other persons from possessing or carrying a knife, handgun or long gun in a courthouse or portion of a government building in the city of Griffin when judicial proceedings, council meetings, committee meetings, board meetings or any other duly noticed meetings are being conducted in the building.
The provision also will not allow knives in government buildings or courthouses as otherwise prohibited by state law.
The city also adopted the county’s Emergency Management Plan, which was revised in May and has been adopted by the cities of Sunny Side and Orchard Hill and by the county. When asked, Strickland said there was “no mention of firearms anywhere. It’s just who’s in charge of and in support of who.”